California is one of the best places to ride a motorcycle, whether you ride to commute or for pleasure. But as every rider knows, negligent drivers can pose significant danger to motorcyclists. Pleasanton motorcycle accident lawyer Stephen M. Fuerch has more than 35 years of experience helping injured people from Fremont, Walnut Creek, and throughout the East Bay. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent driver, you may seek compensation for your injuries.Motorcyclists Face Greater Dangers
The freedom motorcyclists enjoy comes with inherent risks. In 2011, almost 11,000 motorcyclists were injured in accidents in California, according to the California Highway Patrol. That same year 460 people were injured or killed in motorcycle accidents in Alameda County alone. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in an accident than drivers or passengers of other vehicles.California Law Protects Injured Riders
A rider injured in a motorcycle accident can file a lawsuit that alleges negligence on the part of the person responsible for the accident. To prevail in such a case, the plaintiff must prove:
- The defendant owed the rider a duty;
- The defendant breached the duty; and
- The rider’s injuries were caused, at least in part, by the defendant’s actions.
Just as defendants in auto accidents and truck accidents, the defendant in a motorcycle accident case likely owed the plaintiff a duty to behave reasonably given the circumstances. This means that a driver who fails to pay attention, drives aggressively, or drives drunk has breached the duty that all drivers owe to others on the road. If the defendant’s actions were a cause of the accident that injured the plaintiff, the defendant can be held legally liable.
Personal injury victims in California have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. Failing to meet this deadline could result in the case being permanently dismissed from court without the recovery of damages, so talk to an experienced attorney as soon after your motorcycle accident as possible.Prevailing Motorcycle Riders May Collect Damages
An injured motorcyclist who successfully proves her negligence case is entitled to economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are defined as objective monetary losses. These include medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. Noneconomic damages, on the other hand, compensate the plaintiff for subjective injuries, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and inconvenience.
As codified in Cal. Civ. Code § 1431.2, defendants will be jointly liable only for economic damages in personal injury cases where more than one defendant is deemed to be at fault. This means that a plaintiff can collect the entire amount of economic damages from any liable defendant. But for noneconomic damages, the plaintiff can collect only a percentage of the damages in proportion to the individual defendant’s allocated fault.Let an Experienced Attorney Protect Your Rights
A negligent driver who needlessly endangers motorcyclists should be held accountable for his actions. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, Pleasanton motorcycle accident attorney Stephen M. Fuerch can explain your options for seeking compensation. We serve clients from Contra Costa County, San Ramon, and throughout the East Bay. To schedule a consultation call (925) 463-1073 or fill out our online contact form.